Friday, May 24, 2019

Glimma Girlz

Glimma Girlz as seen at Family Dollar

I saw the Glimma Girlz dolls at Family Dollar last week.  Made by the same company that makes Sparkle Girlz dolls and fashions, Funville, these 11-1/2-inch fashion dolls were available in a variety of fashions for $5.75.  Because I collect fashion doll clones and because I like this doll's head sculpt, I asked my grandson, who was with me, to choose which one I should buy.

The chosen one
My grandson chose the one wearing the asymmetrical faux leather black skirt with black and white striped midriff top.  I asked him several times if he was certain this was the one I should buy.  He continued to answer, "Yes."

Once at home, the Glimma Girlz doll was removed from the box and photographed still attached to the box liner.
After removing the doll from the box, I found her pencil-thin, shapeless legs very disappointing.  "She's still a pretty doll and I can always rebody her," I thought.  Still attached to the liner in the above photograph, is a black handbag and silver star-shaped brush.


Close-up of her super thin legs.
Removing the doll and her two accessories from the box liner was a snap.  She was attached with a large rubber band around her waist.  Plastic fasteners held her legs and accessories in place.  These were removed with scissors.

She has long straight rooted black hair.
The hair was held under one large rubber band that was wrapped around her shoulders from front-to-back.

The sides of her hair were pulled to the back and held in place with a rubber band underneath the loose hair
The front of her hair is parted in the middle.  A small section of each side is pulled back underneath the rest of her loose hair and held together with a rubber band, as illustrated above.

I undressed her to see if she can wear Sparkle Girlz clothing.

The distributor's name and serial number are branded on her back as illustrated here.
As indicated, Glimma Girlz dolls are manufactured by Funville but Midwoods Brand, LLC, a subsidiary of Family Dollar Stores, Inc., is the distributor as noted by the stamp on this doll's back.  Glimma Girlz dolls are possibly a Family Dollar exclusive.

Before I could try one Sparkle Girlz fashion on this doll, I noticed black stains on the front and back of her legs!  Ugh!

Black stains are on the front of both legs.
The black stains shown above correspond with the asymmetrical front hemline of the black faux leather skirt where it touched the doll's legs in the stained areas.

Black stains are also on the back of both legs.
For a split second, I thought about using an acne cream with 10% benzoyl peroxide to remove the stains.  I decided instead to box her up and return to the store, which is what I did as well as explain the reason for the return to the clerk.  I wondered if I should buy another wearing a different outfit.  "No," was my answer because the thin legs bother me and there is really no need for me to invest in a body for the head.

So if you see these dolls at your Family Dollar, steer clear of any that are dressed in black clothes.


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There are countless items to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.
__________

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Chatty Cathy Ornaments

Approximately 12 years ago, this Hallmark Chatty Cathy ornament ©2007 was painted brown.

I painted the above Chatty Cathy ornament brown shortly after Hallmark released the white-only version in 2007/2008.   After recently viewing the above photo and noticing the unevenness of the paint, I decided to purchase and better paint another ornament.  The original retail of these ornaments was $16.50 US and $22.98 Canada.  The second one was found for under $4 on Etsy.  Surprisingly, after 12 years, this battery-operated talking ornament still talks when the pull-string is pulled.


The second Chatty Cathy ornament before painting is shown with the original box and in a close-up in the next photo.

Close-up of the second Chatty Cathy ornament before painting

It took about a week to complete the painting of the second ornament because each initial thin layer of paint was allowed to dry up to 24 hours before applying the next.  I did not do this when the first ornament was painted, which resulted in an uneven appearance of the paint.  The results of painting the second ornament are illustrated and captioned below.


After the lace pinafore and hang tag were removed, masking tape was used to cover the bodice of the painted-on dress and the arms.  The face, neck, breast area and exposed back were painted brown as shown in this photo.

After the head, neck, chest, and back were painted, the lips and teeth were painted and the masking tape was removed.  Like the first ornament, other than painting the "whites" of the eyes, I left the irises blue.

The hair was painted black and freckles added to the face.  The close-up before photo was used as a guide to paint the freckles.  Stretch or click this image to see the freckles better.  Next, the arms were painted.  (I used masking tape to protect the red shoulder strap area of the dress while the arms were painted.)

The legs were painted and a final neck, chest, and back touchup was done before Chatty was laid face down upon a roll of masking tape to dry.

End result
Chatty Cathy's lace pinafore and hang tag were replaced before she posed for these final photos.

Side photos


Chatty Cathy posed with the original box.

The 1st and 2nd ornaments are shown in this final photo (stretch or click to enlarge to see the difference in the appearance of the painted surface).


dbg


There are countless items to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.
__________

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Friday, May 17, 2019

In Search of Nancy by Bella

Internet-found picture of side-glancing Nancy by Bella, 1966

Nancy by Bella, copyright 1966 uses the American Character Tressy body.  After American Character filed bankruptcy in 1968, the company was acquired by Ideal Toy Company and many companies purchased their doll molds.  The French doll company, Bella, is one such company.  Bella also continued to manufacture American Character’s Tressy (the original grow-hair fashion doll) using molds acquired from American Character.  See the Tressy Dolls by Bella link below.

I saw a headshot of Nancy in a Facebook doll Group.  The only information provided was the doll’s name.  I asked for additional information, but nothing was added.  I copied and saved the photo to my computer (like most doll enthusiasts are known to do when they see a doll they covet).  I also pinned the doll to my Barbie Clones Pinterest board thinking that Nancy was a clone of Barbie, which now I know she is not.


Michelle Obama gives some serious side-eye during the 2012 presidential handoff.

After a few weeks of viewing the saved photo, I mustered the nerve to post it to my doll Facebook group along with a photo of former First Lady Michelle Obama with the caption, “I would love to own this doll! A Barbie competitor that was probably made for the 1960s European doll market, her name supposedly is Nancy. I have never seen a doll [from this era] with lips this full and shaped as though she is slightly perturbed. (Reminds me of some of Michelle Obama's expressions at the [person] in the WH's inauguration when she later admitted she stopped trying to smile.) I initially thought the photo of ‘Nancy’ might have been photoshopped. I asked the poster [in the other group] to share the manufacturer's name, but there was no reply.”


White and Black versions of Nancy by Bella are described and valued in an unknown French doll reference book.

After a few days, one of my group’s members, who goes by Tammy Teej (of Curiositeej Dolls & Collectibles), shared the above image from a French publication which provides Nancy’s date of manufacture, the manufacturer’s name, and the country of origin (1966, Bella, France).  Woohoo!  I had been given a jumpstart to commence further research on Nancy.  Translated from French to English the text from the above scan reads:

Nancy (mid-length black hair version 1966) Very rare doll of 30 cm in black vinyl; head, arms and legs movable; non-folding legs; painted features; big mouth; black hair implants mid-length, without bangs and without wicks of hair that grows; straight legs.
Marks: Bella in a rectangle vertically on the neck.
Clothing of origin; a dress with multicolored triangles; pink, orange, yellow, blue and gray.
Value: 700 Euros and more in a box
500 Euros and more without box

Google searches for “Nancy doll by Bella of France 1966” resulted in several images of Tressy.  This is how I discovered that Nancy is not a Barbie competitor.  I briefly considered her next as a Tressy competitor, but other than using American Character Tressy’s original body, Nancy has her own head sculpt.  Like Tressy and Barbie, Nancy is 11-1/2-inches tall.  There are short-hair and long-hair versions of Nancy, first and second editions.   At the previous link, the short-hair version wears her original dress, which fits the description written in the French publication. 

Because of her beautiful head sculpt and fact that she reminds me of Former First Lady Michelle Obama, because I owned the original American Character  (AC) Tressy as a child (the white version) and now own a colorized version of AC’s Tressy, I would love to add Bella’s Nancy to my collection.  If you have one for sale or know someone who does, please let me know.  I am seriously on the lookout for Nancy by Bella.

Related Links:
Tressy Dolls by American Character:  http://www.tressydoll.com/page2.htm
Tressy Dolls by Bella: http://www.tressydoll.com/page3.htm
Curiositeej Dolls & Collectibles

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There are countless items to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.
__________

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day!

Angelica by Philip Heath holds a reproduction Bonnie Lou by Terri Lee as Terri Lee's reproduction Patty-Jo stands below. All are redressed in Dollie and Me fashions.

🌸Wishing you a joy-filled...

dbg


There are countless items to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.
__________

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Friday, May 10, 2019

Acorn Wishes


Turkey and chicken bones

Out of necessity, due to lack of funds for purchasing dolls from merchants, or because of the combined skill and expertise of making things by hand, homemade dolls have been made since time immemorial.   Household items, found objects, and repurposed items were often used to create homemade dolls in the past. Said to date back to the Victorian era, turkey and chicken wishbones were often used to make wishbone dolls.  Nuts have often been used to make nut head dolls.  Household rags were used for clothing these dolls.


Acorns were used for the heads of my wishbone dolls

I began saving wishbones and acorns some time ago with the intent of making a few dolls from each, separately.  With extra time on my hands, I decided to combine the two materials (wishbones and acorns) to make what I call Acorn Wish Dolls, a father, a mother, and a baby.

What Was Done




  • Bodies were fashioned with air-dry clay.
  • With the clay bodies still moist, the acorns and wishbones were pressed into the top and bottom of the clay bodies.  Between the legs, from the front to the back of the bodies, a thin strip of clay was attached to keep the wishbones secure.
  • The clay was allowed to dry overnight.  


  • Feet/shoes were made using polymer clay.  The feet/shoes were allowed to dry for 24 hours.




  • Because the top of the chicken wishbone used for the baby projected forward, I knew that standing would be impossible.  Extra clay was added to the bottom of the body for this one to create buttocks for sitting.



  • After the clay dried, the bodies and legs were painted and allowed to dry.



  • Arms were fashioned using a brown pipe cleaner, which was cut the appropriate length for each doll.  Enough length for each was allowed so the ends could be bent inward to create the appearance of hands and to prevent pricking from the cut wire ends.  
  • The pipe-cleaner-arms were hot glued to the back of the bodies.



  • Simple faces were painted on next. 
  • After their shoes were painted, felt was used to hand stitch their clothing.
  • Finally, the top of the acorn (the hair) was painted.  Brown yarn was glued to the back of the mother's head to add length to her hair.  



Dad has black hair.  Black felt was used to make a black shirt and white felt was used for his pants. His shoes are black.

Mom has brown hair with strips of yarn added to the back and sides.  She wears a simple caftan-style black-and-white-patterned felt dress with a felt heart cutout glued to the neckline.

So that her red bottoms could be seen, Mom took this photo lying down.  Show off!

Baby's hair is black like Dad's.  Glue-on clothing is made of white felt and consists of a white bib and a white diaper.  A huge red felt heart decorates the bib.  The feet are painted white with tan soles.

The Acorn Wishes pose for a final picture.
Now that making wishbone and acorn dolls has been marked off my to-do list, I can move on to a couple of other long-overdue doll projects hopefully before my free time diminishes.

For additional information about wishbone dolls, google "wishbone dolls" and "wishbone pen wipers."  The latter type was used to wipe off extra ink from dip or nib pens during the 1800s.  An interesting article about wishbone dolls can be read here.  If you have a copy of the Fall 2015 issue of UFDC's Doll News, the article, "The Peculiar World of Wishbone Dolls" by Gae Ward will be an informative read.

dbg


There are countless items to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.
__________

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Dedicated Teachers and Nurses Should Always Be Appreciated


Monday, May 6th through Friday, May 10th marks Teacher Appreciation Week.  May 6th through May 12th is National Nurse's Week.  These are two professions that should be celebrated 24/7 as at some point everyone will encounter a teacher or a nurse.

Being around nurses and teachers most of my life and now with a daughter who is an educator, I have appreciated both professions for as long as I remember.

This is a circa 1960s puzzle of a black child dressed as a candy striper. She holds a tray of medicinal items. The patient in the cradle is a kitten. The details at the bottom of the puzzle read: Personality #180, E.E. Fairchild Corporation.

At the age of 5 or 6, I "thought" I wanted to become a nurse; however, that thought vanished from my mind forever when my mother scolded me for crying as I witnessed my brother regurgitate what I thought was blood.  In reality, he had drunk a red soda prior to becoming nauseated.  The red soda turned his gastric contents red, but all I could think of was my brother was bleeding inside.  As she cleaned up the vomit, she asked in a slightly raised voice, "How do you think you're going to be  a nurse if you can't stand the sight of vomit!?"   Aspiration crushed, I internalized that moment and never-ever thought about being a nurse again.


2002 Lingerie Barbie dressed as a nurse (she is my perfect stand in for the 2006 Barbie Fan Club-exclusive Nurse Barbie).
From the late 1960s through the late 1990s when she retired, my mother worked with nurses in a doctor's office setting and became lifelong friends with them.  I admired their crisp white uniforms, white stockings, and nurse's hats.  The white nurse's shoes they wore were "interesting."  They looked comfortable but were not very stylish, in my opinion.   The office always smelled clean and everything was always in order.  One of my mother's nurse/co-worker friends suggested that I become a dental hygienist.  I appreciated Shelley's suggestion and did give it some thought, but that profession was not in the cards for me.


As illustrated in Black Dolls a Comprehensive Guide, from L-R these nurse dolls are Shindana's Career Girl Wanda, a Dress Me Ginny, and Silkstone Barbie (shown above this picture as well) all dressed in custom nurse uniforms.  The redhead is  Julia, Mattel's first celebrity doll that represents Diahann Carroll in her role as the 1968-1971 TV series main character, Julia.

My work in hospital settings as an allied health professional (I've always enjoyed being a behind the scenes kind of person) and my short stint at a visiting nurse-type organization allowed me to form working relationships with nurses that often led to friendships.

I know several nurses who are doll collectors that I have communicated with for years regarding our shared passion for dolls.  Dedicated nurses are good people.  Dedicated teachers are, too.


My Violet Waters doll is a tribute to my aunt, Cubie Faye Evans.  "She contributed to the field of education in various capacities and retired as a principal in the Dallas Independent School District after 41 years of committed service." [From her obituary.] 

My favorite aunt was a teacher and school administrator.  For me, she was an early example of a dedicated wife and loving mother.  As an educator, she continued to educate outside the classroom.  "Who's gnawing on that bone?" she'd kindly ask if I answered, "Naw" instead of "No."  She taught me how to sew and to hand-stitch a dress hem.  During her 80th birthday surprise birthday party speech, after receiving countless accolades from the people whose lives she touched in and outside the classroom, she said, "It's often lonely at the top."


A few years ago, my real-live doll dressed up as Batgirl for her kindergartners on a special school day.
I raised a teacher who is passionate about "her kids."  When she was in sixth grade, she was inspired by one of her favorite teachers (unbeknownst to the teacher), to pursue teaching as a career.  She also appears to be a lifelong student.  Having achieved a masters in education a few years ago, she is now working on her doctorate and I am very proud of her.

1995 Teacher Barbie has an unusually small class of two students.
I salute all great nurses and teachers and extend to both professions the utmost respect.  They are both difficult, often thankless jobs.  It might not often be stated, but I and many others appreciate the work that you do.

dbg


There are countless items to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.
__________

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Monday, May 6, 2019

Firefighter Ken

Firefighter Ken

At my husband's suggestion, I purchased Firefighter Ken from the Ken Career series several weeks ago.  After repainting this doll to represent someone with vitiligo, I decided she needed a male counterpart.  At the time of Firefighter Ken's purchase, I knew he would be it. 


Before removing him from his box, the above in-the-box photograph was taken.  I also took a picture of the back of the box which describes, for little ones, the duties of a firefighter and the education requirements. 



After removing him from the box, I documented his attributes including his $7.97 price onto my doll inventory spreadsheet:

12-inch male doll, nonarticulated body, has brown painted eyes, crew cut hair black on the top and brown on the sides, dressed in yellow-tan firefighter uniform with lithographed flashlight and radio microphone in painted-on pockets, black boots, yellow firefighter's hat.  Back of box (now discarded) describes what firefighters do and education requirements.
Next, I undressed this guy and used the same sunkissed peach acrylic paint by Apple Barrel (from Walmart's craft section) that I used on the female counterpart.  For her, I lightened the paint with white acrylic paint. For him, I did not.  In some areas, I diluted the peach paint with water, but for the most part, the paint was applied undiluted to select areas of his face, chest, back, arms, and legs layer by layer.  Each layer was allowed to dry before applying the next. 

Unlike painting the female counterpart, I did not solicit or need help from my husband.  Upon his observation of my partially-completed work, he made one comment, "There you go creating straight lines again."  So I added curves to the "straight lines" he observed.

 
The final layer of paint was sealed with Folkart waterbased varnish.  I used a wedge makeup sponge to apply the varnish, which was extended all over his head, body, arms, and legs to create an even finish. 

Ken's vitiligo is more extensive on his face, chest, and arms.

He has a small patch of vitiligo on his lower back.  The back of his legs is not affected.

The sides of his arms, knees, and mid-calves are affected.
While the varnish dried, the above photos were taken from different angles to illustrate the vitiligo-affected areas.  The head, upper body, and arms were varnished first.  Ken sat overnight on his bottom with his legs outstretched while these areas dried.  After the legs were varnished, Ken stood on the doll stand, as illustrated above, to allow the varnish to dry on the legs.

Getting Dressed
He wears a tank top, shorts, and white sneakers.

He usually wears his sunglasses on top of his head.

The sunglasses mask the vitiligo around his eyes.
Because I did not want to conceal his vitiligo, Ken was dressed in the above casual Ken separates that I purchased some time ago.  He added sunglasses that he prefers to wear on top of his head.


Ken and Friend


He and his female friend posed together for these two final photos.  Their silence speaks volumes.  Both are thinking, I'm looking at the opposite version of myself and I like what I see.

If you haven't already read about his friend's transformation, it can be read here.


dbg


There are countless items to collect and write about. Black dolls chose me.
__________

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